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Kathryn S. Fuller

A Life-Long Campaign to Protect the Planet

Kathryn S. Fuller, JD
Chair of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Former President and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund U.S. (WWF-US)
1996 Fulbright 50th Anniversary Distinguished Fellow to Uganda, 2000 Fulbright U.S. Scholar to China

Kathryn S. Fuller

Kathryn Fuller loves nature. 

From exploring the woods as a child, to conducting field work on Caribbean coral reef crustaceans, Ms. Fuller’s passion has helped shape conservation efforts around the world. A lawyer and biologist, the Chair of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, former President and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund U.S., and former Chair of the Ford Foundation, Ms. Fuller protects vibrant ecosystems through thoughtful and research-informed conservation policy.

Throughout her career, Ms. Fuller has emphasized the development of innovative conservation methods, including conservation partnerships on ecoregional scales. In particular, as a Fulbrighter, Ms. Fuller has supported and highlighted the role women have played in conservation efforts. Of the need to honor inclusion in conservation, she explains: “No one of us can solve the planet’s problems alone, and we need many partnerships on many issues at many scales to achieve lasting results…” 

Ms. Fuller completed a bachelor’s degree in literature, though a post-graduation opportunity to study wildebeests in Tanzania solidified her intention to pursue a career in conservation. Next came a law degree from the University of Texas, after which Fuller joined the U.S. Department of Justice as a constitutional lawyer. She then helped to create and manage the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section, a group charged with improving wildlife law enforcement. Ms. Fuller complemented her legal expertise with scientific training through graduate studies in marine, estuarine, and environmental science at the University of Maryland. 

Combining her legal and scientific expertise, Ms. Fuller advanced environmental protection policy as consultant, manager, and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund U.S. for 16 years. WWF-US “The Kathryn Fuller Science of Nature Fund,” created to honor her contributions, supports the implementation of promising conservation science research for the future. 

Ms. Fuller continues to support conservation as WWF-US President and Director Emerita, and Trustee of the Greater Himalayas Foundation and The Summit Foundation. In addition, she works with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Alcoa Corporation, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

While continuing to serve communities and ecosystems, Ms. Fuller reflects on Fulbright’s impact on her career: “My Fulbright experiences brought me to thinkers and doers from an array of disciplines and backgrounds, enriching and deepening my perspectives on how to tackle the multi-faceted challenges of nature conservation. Opportunities during a busy career to step back, reflect, and learn come infrequently: I remain enormously grateful to the Fulbright Program for making this possible.”

Working with important institutions to reach hearts and minds and inspire greater conservation and sustainability, Fulbright alumni like Ms. Fuller lead the way toward a more sustainable future.